12 Creative Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets

wooden pallets

Have you ever seen wooden pallets sitting outside of a commercial building? Have you ever wondered what happens to them?

In some cases, the pallets are recycled or sold to someone who can use them. A lot of the time, though, they end up in the garbage - approximately 150 million of them per year. Wooden pallets are a massive drain on resources and a huge burden on the waste disposal system.

So why not give them a new life? Some businesses are happy to get rid of their wooden pallets. If they normally pay to have them hauled to the landfill, they will be happy for you to take the pallets for no charge.

What can you do with pallets? Realistically, they aren’t the highest quality wood you’ll ever find. However, they are good enough for inexpensive furniture and decorations when you can’t afford to buy pre-made…or if you’re a believer in the dorm-room school of design.

Below, we’ve gathered our favorite links that will give you new and interesting ways to use those wooden pallets. Some of these projects may not be appropriate for certain climates. If you are thinking of using wood obtained from pallets for an outside project, be sure to treat the wood first to protect it from the elements.

1. Keep the good critters in and the bad critters out: build a pallet fence.

2. Make an inexpensive shed for storage.

pallet birdhouse

3. Earn some money while you’re recycling! Make these rustic bird houses.

4. Need a temporary emergency shelter? Here’s now to make one from discarded pallets.

5. Get control of your compost heap with this excellent compost bin using pallets and a few inexpensive pieces of hardware.

6. Make some almost-free planters for your gardening endeavors.

pallet chicken coop

7. Build a chicken coop to house those unruly little cluckers.

8. If the pallets are made of untreated wood, use them as a free fuel your indoor or outdoor fire.

9. Not into gardening, animal keeping, or burning stuff? Make some unique and beautiful art with your pallets.

10. Make an attractive table for your home! Or try this one or this one.

11. Don’t spend big money on an expensive computer desk. Just build your own from discarded pallets!

12. Put them on the ground outside to keep plants or firewood elevated.

These are just a few of the many creative uses for old wooden pallets. Do you know of any other bright ideas to keep pallets out of landfills and make something useful and/or beautiful? Let us know below in the comments!

11 Comments so far

  1. Tash on June 5th, 2008

    I will tell you a secret. Tile stores, that sell tile for laying on your patio or your bathroom floor, receive lots of their tiles from overseas. These tiles are shipped to them in crates that are constructed of exotic hardwoods.
    My local tile shop has a constant supply of these crates sitting out back of the store and they beg us to take them.
    They use some of them for burning, as do we, we’re big on evening bon fires.
    We also use crates for our compost heaps. Hardwood is the best. You wouldn’t want to use plywood for a compost, due to leaching of the chemicals they use. But hardwood works wonderfully.
    Among other exotic woods, we have found Brazillian cherry. Check your own local tile shops and you might be pleasantly surprised to find free, exotic hardwood.

  2. Tash on June 5th, 2008

    I should add that these crates are as easily disassembled as a pallet.

  3. Igor Kolar on June 7th, 2008

    I always fancied using them inside the house, as a base instead of a normal bed, just something to put the mattress on. But since I have yet to get my own place, I have YET to test this idea out …

  4. art lessons on June 18th, 2008

    might i suggest a hat?

    sorry, that was lame, we have actually used these in a cowboy bar/restaurant that I worked in, we would toss pallets from a local warehouse into a wood chipper and use it on the floors for an artistic rustic look.

  5. look how on February 25th, 2009

    looking how to make things out of pallits thout you could show me all ready have idas just not the nohow

  6. Ffej on February 26th, 2009

    Just remember that all those exotic hardwood pallets from outside the US are required to be either heat or chemically treated to remove pests. They are suppose to be marked accordingly, but user (sawdust breather) beware…

  7. hydraulic jacks on March 14th, 2009

    This is the first time I comment here and I should say you give us genuine, and quality information for other bloggers! Good job.
    p.s. You have an awesome template for your blog. Where did you find it?

  8. vinton on April 10th, 2009

    I truly enjoyed see how the used pallet,s are to be used. I went by a feed store the other day and saw I guess nearly hundred of the old pallets just stacked up . my next trip will see if I can grab some. so maybe a feed store would be a good source for the pallets

  9. Debi on June 17th, 2009

    I think this is great. I am trying to create a competition internally here in our company where we sell office supplies, office equipment, office furniture. I want our staff to crete an ordinary product using old discarded items that we sell. Any ideas from folks out there would be appreciated about the best way to run this competition. WE are 70 employees.

  10. ckpadma on July 7th, 2009

    Two more ideas I saw in “Apartment Therapy” - using to make a pallet bed and as a display for plates in the kitchen

  11. Doug Miller on August 19th, 2009

    The company that I work for sends a lot of pallets & other scrap wood in a dumpster and then it is sent to a landfill. I’m interested in recycling this wood so it can be used for other things.

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